The worlds most intelligent killers and they hunted in packs!
Velociraptor, Utahraptor, Dakotaraptor, Austroraptor, Achillobator, Deinonychus, Microraptor, Dromaeosaurus, Troodon and more are part of a elite group of super killers that we have all grown to love and fear at the same time....and for good reason. They ruled the forests from the late Jurassic till the end of the dinosaurs reign 66 million years ago. We are all familiar with animals like Velociraptor because of the Jurassic Park movies. But there are a couple new discoveries that rival the movie killers in every category. It's well known now that the movies raptors are actually Utahraptors but Steven Spielberg didn't think that sounded scary enough and used the chicken sized dinosaur name "Velociraptor".
New evidence has come to light of two new dromaeosaurids (a family of feathered theropoddinosaurs meaning 'running lizards' which informally are called raptors). One is Dakotaraptor and the other is Austroraptor. Both of these killers were over 7 feet tall when standing erect and packed the same brute killer force and their smaller cousins. But there are some major differences between the two animals.
Austroraptor had conical, non-serrated teeth, which was compared to those of spinosaurids. Its long 80 centimeter suggested that is large raptor might have gone fishing as well. Dakotaraptor was the same hight and length as both Austroraptor and Utahraptor measuring close to 20 feet long! This animal was built like an Olympic sprinter. Its bone structure suggests that it was fast and extremely powerful in both its bite and legs. All of these species flourished from North America to Siberia and Iran. Probably the smartest of the group would be Troodon which grew up to 4 feet tall in North America and 6 feet tall in Alberta Canada and had one of the largest brain to body sizes of all dinosaurs.
If these two species ever met it would have been a nasty showdown. No territory can be called home to two giant alpha predators and especially a pack of 5 to 9 on each side. My pick would be the Dakotaraptor just in size and strength but Austroraptor was fast and its brain cavity showed that might have been one step under Troodon in intelligence.
Imagine being alone in a dense forest. Its quiet, warm and full of small chirps and the sound of the wind blowing through the early Cretaceous conifers. You look in all directions but can't see any signs of life through the bushes and trees. It's peaceful and a beautiful world. you get so caught up in the scenery that you forget to pay attention for anything moving around you. You let your guard down. Before you have time to realize what has happened, 7 vicious killers explode from the foliage around you. Within 2 seconds they surround you. Biting and slashing at your sides until one of these attackers gets its razor sharp teeth around your neck and the lights slowing go out.
I have often wondered how difficult it would be to escape a hungry pack of dromaeosaurids.
This group of predators are some of the most frightening creatures to have ever hunted on this planet! Ranging from 2 feet to 7 feet tall when standing erect. Each sporting razor sharp claws on the forelimbs and devastating killer claws on the inside toe of the hindfoot.
These are and have always been my favorite group of dinosaurs. But aside from their array of killing weapons, the main reason I have always been so fascinated with them is their brain, eye and olfactory size. Each one of the species of raptors were terrifyingly intelligent and even worse, they functioned together as a team. Some Deinonychus skeletons have been found with up to 9 sets of bones in one dig sight. Imagine one of the most intelligent killers of all time and then imagine 9 of them after you. Needless to say we are all thankful there is 68 millions years separating us from them.